Sheikh Salman: FIFA could have no money left by 2018

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Football News

FIFA faces the "dire reality" of running out of money in two years if its current financial predicament continues, one of the candidates for the presidential election has claimed.

Sheikh Salman Bin Ebrahim Al-Khalifa, the president of Asian football and a FIFA vice-president, said even FIFA's huge reserves of ?1billion could be emptied if income from sponsorship and TV does not increase.

FIFA made a ?67million loss last year, the first time it has made a deficit since 2001, but still has 26 sponsorship gaps to fill.

Sheikh Salman told "FIFA's financial status has very substantially declined over the last year alone. We are faced with a deficit of presently unknown proportions if we don't turn this ship around.

"This is the dire reality: by 2018, FIFA will have zero reserves left if today's status quo remains unchanged, and if there continues to be a substantial lack of income from TV and marketing rights sales."

Sheikh Salman also claimed promises of financial support for associations by some of his rivals were unrealistic.

He added: "Fact is that we are looking at a massive loss. The new proposals by some candidates would increase expenses by over 1billion US dollars over four years; add to that accrued annual losses in the tens of millions, which translate into hundreds of millions over a four-year period."

A row has also erupted over funding for the presidential campaigns after Sheikh Salman questioned UEFA providing 500,000 euros for its general secretary Gianni Infantino's campaign.

Salman, who is from Bahrain, Prince Ali Bin Al Hussein of Jordan and South Africa's Tokyo Sexwale are all privately funding their campaigns.

Infantino however is the only candidate who has announced the size of his campaign fund and exactly where the money is coming from.

A spokesman for Infantino said: "He has always been completely transparent on this issue."

A spokesman for Sheikh Salman said: "Sheikh Salman is funding his campaign out of his own pocket. Unlike others, who take recourse to using confederation money, Sheikh Salman sticks to regulations governing the electoral campaign."

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